In terms of famous laws and rules, the Golden Rule is probably one of the most famous. We’re all familiar with this Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. But why, we are realizing, is it not always so golden? While well intended, in the fast-paced and diverse world of today, this rule doesn’t work like it was meant to. When following this rule, we assume people want to be treated the way we want to be treated therefore walking into an interaction without the necessary empathy. Let’s consider a different “rule” that takes that into account: the Platinum Rule.

The Platinum Rule takes the Golden Rule and inverts it, stating: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.” While we, here at CI Squared, didn’t invent this rule, much of what we fundamentally believe in is based on this empathetic vantage point. It’s a paradigm shift because the Platinum Rule requires us to think of others’ first and adjust our behavior to treat them as they would want and need. And because of that, we meet people where they are and therefore get what we want too. But how, and why do we do that?

The world and outstretching environments are unquestionably more diverse than they used to be, teeming with an infinite number of different personalities. Personality profiles, however, are an analyzed way to whittle down personalities into 4 basic categories that help us understand others’ core behavioral motivations. Our book, The Art of the Nudge, explains that this isn’t necessarily new. From page 73:

“The history of personality profiles goes back to 444 BC. The two most widely known psychologists of this discipline in our western world are Carl Jung and William Marston. Their theories stem from the Greek physician Hippocrates’ sorting of earth, wind, fire and water as the basic elements that affect our personalities.”

They’re all espousing the same thing, just in different ways. Critics sometimes question the validity of these tests, and while they obviously don’t completely define us as individuals, they do give us a solid, simplistic overview of who we are and, something DiSC pointedly exposes, why we are that way. The motivations behind our main personality trait is the most important aspect to understand. After receiving answers to a series of questions, DiSC uses sophisticated algorithms to give the assessment-taker their own personality type in the form of 1 of 4 letters.

(D) Dominant’s motivation: “get it done”
(i) Influence’s motivation: “get connected”,
(S) Steady’s motivation: “get along”
(C) Conscientious’ motivation: “get it right.”

Once you recognize the motivations behind someone’s core personality with the tools of DiSC, you can logically apply the Platinum Rule by using empathy and ultimately meeting someone where they are existing. For example, if you’ve identified yourself as an S and you are meeting with a D personality, you may try to get along first. Instead, adjust by focusing on getting it done first and the interaction will be successful. You may choose to get to your point faster or focus quickly on an outcome.

Another example of an interaction: with a “C” personality, you should be prepared with all your plans and answers to possible questions. Or make an extra effort to talk to your boss who you’ve identified as having an “I” personality because you understand that connection is his/her main motivation. Knowing motivations is half the battle of communication with diverse personalities. And now you have the weapons/tools. What will you do with them in the new year?

Nudge: Thinking about the motivation behind personalities, approach communication with the Platinum Rule.